Welcome to Arborfield Amphibians Sub Aqua Club (AASAC)


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KIT CONFIGURATION
The further you progress with diving, the more kit it seems you take with you on each and every dive trip. Deep recreational dives demand the use of additional kit such as bailout gas, and wreck penetration calls on the use of reels, torches and backup lights. And most, if not all, dives involve carrying accessories, such as delayed SMBs, reels and knives - must-have safety items.
Nevertheless, there are times when some of us can accessorise underwater a little too much. We all know of the classic 'Christmas-tree diver' who would happily carry the kitchen sink on the dive if only there was a spare D-ring available to clip it to.
It's all too easy to overcomplicate and task-load dives by carrying too much kit or not using the setup appropriate to the dive. But it is worth remembering that the more streamlined you are in the water, the better your buoyancy and the less energy you waste.
Keeping all those dangly bits under control and placing essential items in a safe, easily accessible part of the body also greatly improves your safety underwater.
Getting your kit configuration right for you and your diving is key.

DRYSUIT
Good fit is essential to avoid drag. It's important to find a drysuit that fits correctly. Make sure your thermal wear fits comfortably underneath and is not too tight; however, at the same time, avoid a suit that is too large. If the suit is too big, air bubbles will migrate around the body and may become trapped. A good general rule is to avoid any suit that hangs down more than 10cm from the crotch. Large pockets can also cause drag in the water.

BCD's
There is a huge variety of BCD systems on the market these days, from wing styles and integrated weight systems to basic, lightweight travel jackets. Think about the type of diving you do and what system would suit this. Do you need so many D-rings? Are the pockets sufficient to store items of kit? If possible, it is a good idea to tuck away items such as reels and spare torches into pockets, rather than leaving them dangling free to snag on bits of wreck or reef. If you are taking kit for emergency purposes only, such as a spare torch and SMB reel, consider taking smaller versions that will fit easily into your BC pocket.

WEIGHT
Maintaining neutral buoyancy is impossible unless you are properly weighted in the water. Too much lead means an over-inflated BC or drysuit, which will increase your drag significantly. For drysuit divers with thick undersuits, it may be worth investing in a shot-weight belt system or harness. These distribute the weight more evenly and prevent heavy lead digging into the back and hips as with by a standard belt system.

TORCH
Larger torches should be clipped to the BC. To avoid the torch dangling on entry and exit, some divers opt to use up to two lanyards to secure the torch close to the body, for example, one at the waist and one at the shoulder. Backup torches can be stowed in BC pockets.

UNDERSUIT
The thicker your undersuit, the more water you displace and the more weight that you have to carry. This causes unnecessary drag in the water. Think about opting for better-fitting undersuits or the advanced body-hugging thermals available on the market.

OCTOPUS
There are lots of clips and widgets available for securing an octopus close to the body on the BC to minimise the chance of snagging. Whichever gadget you choose, make sure the octopus is always easily accessible and can be clearly seen by a buddy.

HOSES
Arrange your hoses well. Make sure you route all hoses as neatly and as close to your body as possible. A correctly configured regulator setup should have all the hoses below the valve, with the turret orientated downwards. This will help to avoid snagging.

SMB AND REEL
For delayed SMB deployment, it is best to opt for a reel that holds the length of line you regularly require. This allows you to carry a smaller reel, including the systems. Often these will fit neatly in a BC pocket.

GAUGES
Clip all gauges close to the body. Small pressure gauges cause less drag as these can be neatly clipped. Think about wrist-mounted computers and compasses to reduce the size of the console.

KNIFE
Keep knives at the front of the body for easy access, such as on the shoulder strap of the BC. If you're worried about a leg-mounted knife becoming entangled this is the easiest solution. Some BCs have specially designed knife pockets and attachments for stowage.

CYLINDER CONFIGURATION
An increasing number of UK divers are opting for a twin seven-litre cylinder system for standard recreational dives, rather than a single 12-litre cylinder. Here are some examples of systems adopted for different types of dives

SHALLOW DIVES: less than 10m
Using a single 7- or 10-litre cylinder will significantly reduce drag, as there is less displacement in the water. However, it is important to point out this may not suit a diver who uses a lot of air.

MID-RANGE DEPTH: 10-30m
Traditionally, divers use a 12-litre and a pony cylinder on such dives, But using a pony cylinder leaves you lopsided in the water. However, this system is being ditched in favour of a twin seven-litre cylinder setup.

DEEPER DIVES: 30-50m
For deep dives, a manifold 12-litre cylinder setup (with which you can switch between cylinders) is often employed. If you have to shut down one cylinder you can still use air. For extended range, you may opt to carry an additional pony cylinder for emergency bailout use.

TOP TIPS
Get your trim right: experiment with kit configurations until your resting position in the water is as near to horizontal as possible
Get on that diet: heaving a large body through the water will increase your workload drastically!
Only carry what you need to complete the dive safely
Think carefully about your configuration's effect on weighting and streamlining
Make one change at a time.






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